One of the biggest days on the French calendar of events is 14 July, Fête Nationale (or Bastille Day as it is often known as to non-French people).
This day commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789; the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille fortress was seen as symbolic of the uprising of France, and of the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic, during the French Revolution.
Festivities, dances, concerts, ceremonies (and parties) are held all over France. The oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe is held on the morning of 14 July, on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris.
If you are visiting the French Riviera at this time, or live here and are looking for some family-friendly events to attend here are some suggestions for Sunday 14 July:
10am – Square boules in the commune Safranier (free for spectators). I had no idea square boules even existed until I stumbled across this annual competition one morning on Fête Nationale a few years ago. Safranier is a free commune in Antibes old town with two of the prettiest streets in the area (rue du Bas Castelet and rue du Haut Castelet), and a lively local restaurant/tavern (Taverne du Safranier). Pop along to watch, it is definitely interesting to watch instead of the more common round boules. In the evening on Fête Nationale, the commune often has a free live band and people dance in the square by the tavern.
10pm – Fireworks in the bay, any location along the Croisette should ensure a good view (free display)
JUAN LES PINS:
8.30pm – Jazz à Juan festival – soul, brass band (admission applies)
10.30pm – Fireworks in the bay (free display)
8.30pm – Prom’ Party (free entry). Situated on the Promenade des Anglais on the waterfront, the area is divided into 7 musical stages with acts ranging from pop rock, latino music, a DJ, orchestral music and roaming musicians. Bands start at 9.30pm, followed by a fireworks display.
10pm – Roaming musicians in the town with a fireworks display in the harbour at 10.45pm (free display).